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Activist Resources

Media coverage plays a large part in defining public perceptions toward alternative sexual expression. You and your organization can help shape media attitudes by speaking to the press about sexual issues that concern consenting adults.

For additional information, contact Susan Wright at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 917-848-6544 

Click to download Tips on Meeting with Elected and Appointed Officials— It’s Easier Than You Think! Setting up and participating in meetings with an elected or appointed official is not difficult. In almost all cases, they will welcome meeting with people who can educate them and their staff about an issue. And the views you express can have a significant impact. Issues important to our communities are on the front burner for state and local elected and appointed officials across the country. Those officials—legislators, governors, mayors, county and city councils, school boards, zoning and ABC boards—want to hear what we think about those issues. We can all write letters, and we should certainly do that, but actually meeting with your elected or appointed officials can have a major impact. And this is something we all can do. Monitoring Developing Issues It is important to be aware of developing issues on which lobbying can be useful. Getting in for a lobby visit early in the legislative or administrative process is the best way to affect the outcome. Monitor your local press for new issues of concern to our communities. Also, legislatures and administrative agencies have web sites on which they often (but not always) identify issues they will be considering and give timetables for such consideration. Monitoring & Participating in the Committee Process Almost all legislative proposals are considered by a Committee before being voted on in the Congress or state legislature. The staff of the Committee (which may be different than the staffs of the individual legislators) will do the necessary research, prepare a draft of the legislative measure and brief the legislators who are assigned to be members of that Committee. It is important to monitor the Committee process to identify new legislative proposals at an early stage. Most Committees—certainly all Committees of the U.S. Congress—have websites that identify proposals under consideration and set forth the schedules for Committee hearings, Committee meetings and Committee votes. NCSF can help you find the right Committee and point you to its website. Meeting with Committee staffers early in their development of a proposed piece of legislation can be effective, particularly on issues relating to BDSM and other non-traditional sex practices. Staffers will generally know little about the real practice of BDSM or other non-traditional sex practices and are likely to have adverse preconceptions that are important to dispel. You should try to…
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You need to develop your own sound bites in your own words. These are suggestions that you can use to build your own set of sound bites to discuss non-monogamy, polyamory and the Lifestyle. Sometimes there is no graceful way to segue into a sound bite. The point is that you are setting the tone of the conversation, not the reporter. Don’t answer any question you don’t have a prepared sound bite for because likely that is the answer they will pull to use in their article or piece. Out of a 1/2 long interview, you will only see one or two quotes in print, or be on the air for about 10 seconds. So don't ad lib because the off-the-cuff remark is the one the reporter will use. Relationship Enhancement Millions of adults are looking for a way to add a bit more spice to their sex lives. Everyone involved needs to be able to state their limits freely, and have their limits respected. Couples discuss what they want to do before doing it to make sure that it is mutually satisfying. People who are non-monogamous must learn how to communicate exactly what they want with their partners. Couples who are in a non-monogamous relationship are better educated about safe sex, sexual responsibility and communicating about their desires and limits. Having an open relationship can meet more emotional, intellectual, and sexual needs through accepting that one person cannot provide everything. Couples who decide to open their relationship to include others must be secure in the strength of their partnership bond, and comfortable in developing relationships with new people. Jealousy is a natural emotion and is a signal that additional communication and negotiation must occur in order to keep the relationship healthy. Of course, many people prefer monogamy and aren't interested in developing intimate relationships with more than one person. Adults should be able to live how they choose, and no one has the right to dictate our personal choices. Education for Adults Like the gay and lesbian community in the 1960-70’s, people need a place where they can get the support of their peers, and they don't have to be ashamed or afraid of who they are. Workshops about sexuality are held every weekend in communities around the country without any incidents. Colleges that offer sex weeks are providing much-needed education for young adults to learn about safe and…
Guidelines intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. BDSM. Drafted in 1998 at the second Leather Leadership Conference. The following Principles and Guidelines are intended to help law enforcement and social services professionals understand the difference between abusive relationships vs. BDSM, which includes a broad and complex group of behaviors between consenting adults involving the consensual exchange of power, and the giving and receiving of intense erotic sensation and/or mental discipline. BDSM includes: "intimate activities within the scope of informed consent that is freely given." Abuse is: "Physical, sexual or emotional acts inflicted on a person without their informed and freely given consent." Principles The BDSM-Leather-Fetish communities recognize the phrase "Safe, Sane, Consensual" as the best brief summary of principles guiding BDSM practices: Safe is being knowledgeable about the techniques and safety concerns involved in what you are doing, and acting in accordance with that knowledge. Sane is knowing the difference between fantasy and reality, and acting in accordance with that knowledge. Consensual is respecting the limits imposed by each participant at all times. One of the recognized ways to maintain limits is through a "safeword" which ensures that each participant can end his/her participation with a word or gesture.   Guidelines Informed consent must be judged by balancing the following criteria for each encounter at the time the acts occurred:  Was informed consent expressly denied or withdrawn? Were there factors that negated the informed consent? What is the relationship of the participants? What was the nature of the activity? What was the intent of the accused abuser?   Whether an individual's role is top/dominant or bottom/submissive, they could be suffering abuse if they answer no to any of the following questions: Are your needs and limits respected? Is your relationship built on honesty, trust, and respect? Are you able to express feelings of guilt or jealousy or unhappiness? Can you function in everyday life? Can you refuse to do illegal activities? Can you insist on safe sex practices? Can you choose to interact freely with others outside of your relationship? Can you leave the situation without fearing that you will be harmed, or fearing the other participant(s) will harm themselves? Can you choose to exercise self-determination with money, employment, and life decisions? Do you feel free to discuss your practices and feelings with anyone you choose?  . These guidelines were…
The following sound bites are meant to help you create your own sound bites in the way you naturally speak. Work out how you want to say certain things before hand so you’re prepared when you speak to a reporter. Sometimes there is no graceful way to segue into a sound bite. The point is that you are setting the tone of the conversation, not the reporter. Don’t answer any question you don’t have a prepared sound bite for because likely that is the answer they will pull to use in their article or piece. Out of a 1/2 long interview, you will only see one or two quotes in print, or be on the air for about 10 seconds. So don't ad lib because the off-the-cuff remark is the one the reporter will use. Don’t think of this like a BDSM 101 class and don't give any lessons on technique. Most of the people in your audience are NOT kinky and never will be, so it just confuses them to explain things the way you would to a newbie who is interested in kink. Some of the most effective sound bites talk about issues of discrimination and injustice against our communities. “Stimulation” and “sensation” are great words to use—it is clear and non-threatening unlike kink-specific language like "flogging" or "spanking," etc. Safe, Sane and Consensual Thirty years ago, a community-wide ethic was established known as "safe, sane and consensual." This creed has permeated the BDSM subculture far beyond the organized community. RACK is also used as a creed – “risk-aware consensual kink” and focuses on personal responsibility and informed consent. The educational and social kink groups constantly discuss issues of consent, which is the basis of safe, sane and consensual sexual education. If They Want Specific Definitions: 1. "Safe" is being knowledgeable about what you are doing. Each participant must be informed about the possible risks, both mentally and physically. 2. "Sane" is knowing the difference between fantasy and reality. Knowledgeable consent cannot be given by a child, or if you impaired by drugs or alcohol. 3. "Consensual" is respecting the limits imposed by each participant. One of the ways to maintain limits is through a "safeword" - in which the person being stimulated can withdraw consent at any time with a single word or gesture. Safe Words Safewords are one way of communicating to ensure that everything stays…
Giving an Interview on Diverse Sexualities Consider the media outlet Is it radio, television or print media? Is it a local news station or the alternative weekly paper? Some media outlets are naturally more conservative, while others are looking to sensationalize diverse sexualities, so you have to craft your message to counter the inherent bias with each media outlet. With print media, you have to be very careful because they’ll only pull one or two quotes from what you say, so only say what you really want to have included. For radio and podcasts, you can have more of a conversation. You don't have to answer the interviewer's exact question You rarely see the question in TV or print interviews, only the response. So feel free to pick out one word or phrase in the question and respond to that. If they ask about how people stay safe and protect themselves in the BDSM community, you can say, “The BDSM community is all about education, and that’s why so many people volunteer their time for groups like ours, to help teach people how to be responsible about their sexuality.” Keep repeating your sound bites It doesn't make for a stimulating conversation, but that's the way professionals get their point across. The reporter will ask their question several times, trying to get you to expand on what you're saying, to get a more sensational or off-the-cuff quote. Just be firm and keep repeating your point. They will respect you for it and will print the information in the sound bites you give them. Flag your most important sound bites This is done by saying, "The most important thing to remember is that the kink community educates adults about safe, sane and consensual sexual practices." Or "A key part of consensual nonmonogamy is communication in order to understand each others’ limits and desires." Or “One thing you always have to remember is that this is about honesty and building trust through talking about your feelings and desires.” Don't repeat nasty or inflammatory phrases For example, if they ask, "What do you think when people say you're eroticizing violence?" give one of your sound-bites: "Kinky sex is consensual because at any time the participants can stop what's happening." Don't repeat, "We don’t eroticize violence because..." or "Swinging is not cheating..." That makes their point for them. Universalize the questions If the reporter says…
Guidelines for making your letter to the editor a powerful advocacy tool! It's easier than you think! Why should I write a letter to the editor? Letters to the editor are an effective way to convey a positive image of alternate sexual practices such as BDSM, polyamory and swinging. Letters help to de-stigmatize negative social myths and misconceptions about these types of practices. These letters help achieve the advocacy goals of NCSF because they: Reach a large audience Are monitored regularly by elected officials Can introduce new information not addressed in a news article Foster an impression that there is widespread support for or opposition to an issue We also suggest that you send copies of letters that you write to members of Congress to your local newspaper editors. These letters are often published to highlight a specific issue in the editorial section. Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor Keep your letter short and on one subject. Newspapers typically have strict space limits for the editorial section and limited space. Keeping your letter short helps your chances of getting the letter published in its entirety, without important points being edited by the newspaper.   Make sure your letter is legible and words are spelled correctly. Your letter may be simple and short, but make sure that spelling is correct and handwriting (if typing or WP in not used) is legible.   Include your contact information. Newspapers sometimes call to verify a person's identity or address and will usually only publish letters with complete names and addresses. It is recommended that you also include a telephone number, if possible. Newspapers keep this information confidential and usually publish the person's name and city only.   Reference the publication and article. Many newspapers only print letters referencing a specific article. Include the specifics such as "As a concerned resident of Baltimore, I am writing in reference to your article in the latest issue of (insert publication name), dated July 23rd titled "BDSM and the Law."   Describe what you liked or didn't like about the article. NCSF sometimes includes a recommended response on important topics stating our position, which can be easily tailored to fit your personal use.   Personalize your opinion with the news article. Use examples that reference your own experience. Examples are: "As someone who has experienced job discrimination because of my alternative sexual practices, I feel strongly that·",…
In light of recent attacks by religious and political extremists, here are some suggested guidelines for protecting your event and attendees, including website issues, spokesperson training, and community response to an incident. NCSF Suggested Guidelines There are many considerations organizers must contend with when planning a large event. Large events include educational and social conferences, leather contests, weekend play parties, vendor markets, and club runs. In light of recent attacks by religious and political extremists, here are some suggested guidelines for protecting your event and attendees.   BEFORE YOUR EVENT NCSF recommends that you do outreach to local law enforcement. We can not stress enough the importance of doing so. There is no way to fly under the radar if you are hosting an event with a few hundred people that is being advertised over the Internet! Approach the Community Affairs Officer for the precinct in the jurisdiction where the event will be held. Law enforcement can tell you the local and state laws you must observe at your event. Make sure you investigate local and state obscenity laws. If you are hosting vendors at your event, you run the potential risk of violating state obscenity laws and/or state laws on certain items. Many states criminalize the sale of erotica that depicts bondage, sadomasochism, penetration or ejaculation. Additionally, many states also criminalize the sale of certain "toys" often found at event vendor fairs including throwing stars, certain styles of knives, police memorabilia (like badges or handcuffs) and so forth.   YOUR WEBSITE Many religious and political extremist organizations have made a point of gathering information from our own community websites before they attack educational and social events. This information then gets distorted, misquoted and often ends up in the larger media. The mainstream media exposure can be problematic for groups.   1. Be careful about the amount of detailed information you have on your website about your event. It may be prudent for your organization to restrict access to descriptions of classes and presenters to paid attendees or group members only.  2. Layer and password protect the website. Have pages with more information available to those who have registered and paid 3. Do not use explicit language in the areas the general public can gain access to. Do not use words like dungeon or bloodsports or torture because the mainstream doesn't realize that our definition of these words refer to…

  • NCSF’s 2014 Roundup
    NCSF’s 2014 Roundup    2014 has been a year of progress for NCSF and for people who are kinky and nonmonogamous. The national conversation about gay marriage, consent, and even Fifty Shades of Grey are transforming mainstream attitudes. The change in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5 stating that BDSM is a healthy form of sexual expression has also had a significant impact on both the courts and public opinion about kink.   Education Outreach Project  The NCSF Board Members and presenters gave Education Outreach Project workshops and tabled at 36 events in 2014 (compared to 22 in 2013), with a…
  • National Coalition for Sexual Freedom: Are you ready for the Fifty Shades of Gray Movie?
    Does your media agency have resources for these special interest pieces?  Contact the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for interviews and information on kink and open relationships. NCSF is the national advocate for consensual adult sexual expression.    Why kink?   There has been a significant interest in BDSM sparked by the wildly successful Fifty Shades of Grey.  Similar topics appeared in recent TV Shows from CSI to House to Desperate Housewives, and even animated shows such as American Dad.      Furthermore many people, married and otherwise, are discovering and practicing non-monogamy. From polyamory to swinging to open relationships, a notable percentage of the public are shifting their relationship parameters in an honest…
  • Media Kit
    NCSF Media Kit The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom provides educational resources on BDSM and non-monogamy. Resources include data from NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response program which directly helps hundreds of people and groups every year who are being discriminated against because of their sexual expression. NCSF also provides original research on kinksters and the issues caused by the stigma we face, as well as statements on consent and best practices in BDSM. We also offer experts who are knowledgeable about alternative sexual practices as well as experience in community organizing. Contact Susan Wright, NCSF This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./NCSFreedomwww.twitter.com/ncsf Susan Wright founded the…
  • 50 Shades of NCSF Palm Cards
    Are You Ready for Fifty Shades? To coincide with the launch of the movie, get your Fifty Shades of Kink palm cards from NCSF to put out at your club or in local sex shops and bookstores so that people who are looking to find out more about kink know where to go. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request your cards. NCSF’s Fifty Shades of Kink resource page is for people who are kinky and/or non-monogamous, whether they’re just starting out or an old hand at this:  ncsfreedom.org/50ShadesofKink          Check out our Media Kit   Dated: 12/12/2014 Updated: 
  • GayLawNet Joins Forces with NCSF
    NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals joins forces with GayLawNet   NCSF has expanded the reach of its Kink Aware Professionals by collaborating with GayLawNet, which now offers a way for lawyers in their database to self-identify as Kink Aware Professionals:  gaylawnet.com/attorneys/ussolc.html   “Whenever someone can’t find a lawyer in NCSF’s KAP list, I always refer them to GayLawNet,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “Many of their gay-friendly lawyers are eager to work with kinky people, and the GayLawNet database is huge.”   NCSF recently started an outreach campaign to the lawyers who have listed themselves on GayLawNet to let them…
  • Tides Awards NCSF $1,500 Grant
    NCSF Receives Grant Award NCSF is proud to announce the receipt of a $1,500 grant awarded by Tides Foundation. About Tides #TidesProject “Since 1976, Tides Foundation has worked with over 15,000 individuals and organizations in the mutual endeavor to make the world a better place. These include foundations, donors, corporations, social investors, nonprofit organizations, government institutions, community organizations, activists, social entrepreneurs, and more. We break down the walls between entrepreneurs and their efforts to bring positive change to their communities. We are all about new ideas, innovation, and providing the tools to make these great ideas a reality.” NCSF is…
  • NCSF Mental Health Survey
    NCSF Mental Health Survey Please take the NCSF Mental Health Survey! We would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FZ2XDMP NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University’s Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations – one college-aged and the other LGBT. NCSF will use these results to help with our advocacy, benefiting both existing and developing programs. Specifically, the study’s results will assist in educating law enforcement, legal and psychological professionals about the practices and mental health of BDSM practitioners. The survey…
  • Military Court Accepts NCSF's Amicus Brief
    Military Court Accepts NCSF’s Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy April 24, 2014 – Washington, DC – The Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals has accepted NCSF’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief advising the court that prosecutors are avoiding the Supreme Court decision, made in Lawrence v. Texas, that moral judgment is not a basis for criminalizing consensual sexual conduct, and that consensual sex should only be criminalized if that conduct is injurious or goes against a valid societal interest. In the appellate case, it was argued that the activities were “public” even though the sexual…
  • Ombudsman Committee Established
    NCSF Appoints Members of the Ombuds Committee   June 3, 2014 - NCSF is proud to announce these appointments to the Ombuds Committee: Desmond Ravenstone, James Huesmann and Bjorn Paulee. The Ombuds Committee handles complaints and concerns regarding the conduct of NCSF officers and staff, and the operations of NCSF institutions. The NCSF Ombuds Committee shall be established as an Advisory Committee, as per NCSF bylaws, to review Coalition administration and activities, assuring ethical and effective fulfillment of NCSF’s mission and goals. Board Member Fil Vocasek is the Board Liaison to the Ombuds Committee.   NCSF thanks the three members…
  • NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Military Court
      NCSF Files Amicus Brief in Support of Consensual Nonmonogamy March 26, 2014 – Washington D.C. – NCSF has filed an amicus brief in a military case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and because of that was convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy and indecent conduct, a "crime" based solely on undefined sexual conduct inconsistent with "common propriety."   In its brief, NCSF points out that military law is out of sync with U.S. Constitutional law and societal mores, especially when it comes to consensual sexual behaviors. Dick Cunningham, NCSF's Legal Counsel who prepared and filed…